With the Civil War football game coming up this weekend between University of Oregon and Oregon State University, it got us thinking about what it means to be a fan. The game will bring out both teams’ most rabid devotees. Some are so devoted, a win or a loss by their chosen team may affect their mood for the rest of the day – or week, or even year.
Researchers of sports fandom have found a direct connection between mood and a team’s win or loss. Ed Hirt, a professor of psychology at Indiana University says “Your self-esteem will go up and down as your team does well or poorly.”
But fandom also creates community. In an age when you can “like” something on the Internet with the click of a mouse, it’s easy to forget there was a time when many people might have thought it odd if a group of fans of a certain TV show or pop star gathered regularly to discuss their object of devotion. Clearly, online communities have changed all that. There’s a website or forum for fans of practically everything under the sun.
What or who are you a fan of? Are you a Duck or a Beaver? A fan of the Blazers? Or the Winterhawks? Do you follow your favorite celebrity’s every move in the gossip magazines? Or become a friend of all the things you love on Facebook? What does being a fan mean to you?
- Rachel Bachman: Sports reporter for The Oregonian
- Oliver Collins: University of Oregon alumnus and Ducks fan
- Lezli Goheen: Oregon State alumnus and Beavers fan
- Mike Pesca: Sports correspondent for NPR News
- Ed Hirt: Professor of Psychology at Indiana University
- Jonathan Gray: Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at University of Wisconsin, Madison